GLAAD and The Black List have launched the third annual scriptwriting competition, The GLAAD List, for up-and-coming LGBTQ+ writers.

The competition aims to give underrepresented LGBTQ+ writers a platform within the entertainment industry.

The Black List, which is an organisation that surveys unproduced screenplays, is set to provide the scripts. GLAAD will then evaluate the originality, quality and LGBTQ+ representation of the screenplay.

For this year’s competition, six studios will lend their expertise to the selected GLAAD list honourees. Ryan Murphy Productions, MGM/Orion Pictures, Berlanti Productions, Hello Sunshine and Village Roadshow Entertainment Group have confirmed involvement.

Representatives from the six companies will also read the shortlisted scripts, provide feedback and meet one-on-one with the finalists.

GLAAD president Sarah Kate Ellis opened up about the competition in a statement.

“[It] provides Hollywood with new talent who leverage the power of storytelling to grow acceptance and understanding of LGBTQ+ people,” she said.

“The genius of this initiative was to create greater pathways of opportunity for marginalized voices who have not historically had pathways into the Hollywood ecosphere.”

Franklin Leonard, the founder of The Black List, also expressed his excitement, stating: “We’re thrilled to be joined in this important work by so many of the production companies whose work I’ve admired for as long as they’ve been doing it.”

He continued: “It’s been an honour and a joy to work with GLAAD on an initiative that in two short years already has films in post and pre-production despite the pandemic. they’re the first of many, many more.”

At least six scripts have been chosen from the first two GLAAD List competitions.

The screenplay for the Billy Porter directed film What If? was selected as a winner. The film announced their lead cast members earlier this week.

Another screenplay that was selected is a period piece from Chirs Blaser. The film recently wrapped up production in Dublin.

The inclusive event was announced a few days after the ninth annual Studio Responsibility Index was released to the public.

In the report, it was revealed that queer women outnumbered queer men with 11 out of the 20 LGBTQ+ characters being women.

The racial diversity of LGBTQ+ characters also saw a six percent increase from 2019 to 2020. Out of the counted queer roles, 40 percent (eight characters) were characters of colour.

But even with the increase of LGBTQ+ representation, major studios did fall short in other categories.

In terms of transgender and non-binary characters, there was zero representation in studio films.

This has been a common theme over the last few years. The report goes on to say that the last transgender character featured was in the 2016 film Zoolander 2.

Another shortcoming that plagued major studios in 2020 was their lack of LGBTQ+ characters living with HIV. There was zero representation within the 44 films counted.

Bisexual characters also saw a decrease from previous years. In 2020, it went from 14 percent to 10 percent, with only one film featuring a bi character (Harley Quinn).

The GLAAD List competition is open from 20 July to 20 September.